In our latest Q&A, Sean McDonough, discusses the changes to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and employer obligations during this unprecedented time.
What are the changes to SSP?
Under new government guidance, SSP will be payable from day 1, not day 4. We await further guidance on whether this can be backdated to include recent weeks. The first 14 days of SSP will be reclaimable from the government
Who can claim SSP?
Employees are entitled to SSP where they are staying at home to isolate in line with Public Heath of England, Public Health of Wales or NHS Scotland advice, which came into force on 13 March 2020.
Can an employee self-certify?
For the first seven days off work, employees can self-certify their sickness. After that, employers may ask for evidence of sickness absence. An NHS isolation note can be used to provide evidence of the advice to self-isolate.
What is an isolation note?
An isolation note is evidence of a person need to self-isolate. These can be obtained through the NHS website (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/) or NHS 111 online (https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19). After answering a few questions, an isolation note will be emailed to the user.
Do employers have to pay company sick pay (CPA) to employees who are self-isolating?
It remains unclear whether self-isolation will qualify for CSP, and whether this should reflect the new entitlement to SSP, or only be given for actual sickness. We await clarification from the government on this.
What happens if we suspend an employee from work on medical grounds?
If an employee is suspended on medical grounds by an employer, they are entitled to be paid in full for up to 26 weeks. An employee being off work because of the coronavirus does not full under this, and there is no right to be medically suspended because of coronavirus.
Do any precautions need to be taken for pregnant employees?
If a woman is absent from work because of her pregnancy, in the last 6 weeks of pregnancy (this could be because of coronavirus) her ordinary maternity leave automatically starts on that day.
Please do get in touch if you have any questions or need specific advice relating to your business. We are help to help guide and support you on this and other issues as they may arise. 01225 750 000 or email Sean.McDonough@mogersdrewett.com